Shoreline at Otter Rock. Photo by Kirt Edblom.

Shoreline at Otter Rock. Photo by Kirt Edblom.

Given the predilections of the incoming administration, the possibility of a federal push to allow oil and gas leases or mining permits in federal waters off Oregon’s shore looms larger than it has for a generation.  That makes the current public comment period for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) especially significant.

BOEM is responsible for ensuring that the effects on the natural and human environment are taken into consideration during the leasing and development of oil, natural gas, renewable energy and marine mineral resources on the on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).  To help inform management decisions affecting the OCS, BOEM develops, oversees and funds the collection of environmental information as directed by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act through its Environmental Studies Program (ESP). The ESP focuses on applied science, including baseline information about the environment and the effects from activities that result from the leasing and development processes under our authority. The goals of the ESP are to establish the information needed to assess, predict, monitor and manage environmental impacts on marine biota and the human, marine and coastal environments.

BOEM is beginning to formulate its FY2018 Environmental Studies Development Plan covering all BOEM energy and minerals activities, and is inviting public comment.  You can submit your ideas for research topics relevant to the BOEM mission.  The ideas might be something you want to pursue yourself, if you are a marine researcher, or can simply be concepts for research priorities you want to bring to the BOEM’s attention.  You are asked to present the research ideas in brief comments—if they strike a chord, you will be invited to go deeper.  For background on the BOEM planning process and this public comment period, see their website.

Comments are due to Dr. Ann Bull, Pacific Studies Chief,, (805) 384-6385 by December 30, 2016 — see our calendar reminder.

For more information about the process, contact Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM Public Information Office,, (703) 787-1307.